kageygirl

Enterprise slash

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Enterprise kageygirl

Syntax

Title: Syntax

Author: kageygirl

E-mail: kageygirl@gmail.com

URL: http://www.kageygirl.com

Fandom: Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG-13

Category: Slash

Summary: Response to Louise's "Impaled" challenge. Things go badly on an innocent walk through a deserted city.

"Would you look at that? It's extraordinary." Malcolm knelt down next to a small statue nearly hidden in the underbrush. Travis crouched beside him.

"Wow, you're right. I've never seen anything like it."

Hoshi looked over at the two of them from her seat by an ornate fresco. Their hushed voices and expressions of awe were almost authentic, but Travis was putting a little too much 'earnest' in his earnest young ensign routine. The bait was convincing enough for their intended target, however, and Commander Tucker wandered over, intrigued. "What've you got there?"

"Here, right here—" Malcolm lifted a branch to give Tucker a better view. "—is absolutely the largest spider I've ever seen."

"Shit!" The commander stumbled backward, almost bumping into her. He glanced down and murmured, "Sorry, Hoshi." Tucker turned to glare at their companions, who were giggling like errant schoolboys. She was tempted to point out—again—that the swearing didn't bother her at all, but she'd discovered that it was a losing battle against Southern gentility. "Y'know, some of us are tryin' to work, here."

Hoshi smothered a grin. Tucker had been as much a tourist as the other two, playing among the ruins while Hoshi took scans of the artwork and carvings. The Intomi people had abandoned their eastern continent centuries before, leaving their ancient cities behind to rot in the jungle. Scans had shown that the Intomi had regressed technologically. Their leaders had told the captain that the old culture had grown decadent and depraved, and had nearly destroyed themselves. They hadn't understood in the slightest why the Enterprise crew was interested in exploring the ruins, but they had agreed reluctantly to let them satisfy their curiosity.

Hoshi stood up and moved to a colorful mosaic that covered an entire wall of the plaza. There were benches set up in front of it, mostly intact. She mused out loud, "I wonder if this was a classroom, or a performance area."

The other three had followed her, and they too gazed at the mosaic. It seemed to be made of brilliantly-colored crystals and shiny metallic studs. Hoshi ran her scanner back and forth in front of the design, trying to get the full view.

Malcolm had a tricorder out and frowned down at the readout. "There seems to be some sort of mechanism here behind the wall." He stepped towards the wall, then collapsed with a shout and a choked-off curse.

Hoshi rushed forward with the others, and sucked in a breath at what she saw. A small metal spike, the size of an old-fashioned letter opener, had been fired from a hole now visible in the mosaic, and was embedded in Malcolm's left thigh.

"Oh, damn it to hell." Malcolm grimaced, and breathed heavily through clenched teeth. He struggled to sit up, and Tucker hurried to help him.

"Hold still, Malcolm." Tucker supported his shoulders while Travis inspected the wound. Hoshi peered over his shoulder. A few inches of the spike still protruded from Malcolm's thigh, and blood was darkening the fabric of his uniform. She turned away and swallowed hard, fighting the wave of nausea that passed over her.

"Looks nasty, but it missed the artery. It'll hurt like hell, but we should get you back to the shuttle and let Phlox take it out on Enterprise." Malcolm nodded at Travis's words, then visibly braced himself as Travis and Tucker each took an arm and helped him to his feet.

On a purely academic level, Hoshi was impressed by Malcolm's ability to string together obscenities in ways she'd never imagined. But pure academia was safe and aseptic and very far removed from bloody injuries in an alien city half-reclaimed by the jungle, and she experienced a pang of longing before ruthlessly squashing it down.

Travis and Tucker helped Malcolm limp back down the path they'd taken earlier. The commander shook his head ruefully. "I jinxed us. I should never have compared that temple t'somethin' from an Indiana Jones movie."

The other two chuckled painfully. Hoshi didn't quite get the joke, but smiled along with them. Travis made a face. "I guess we're even now for the comet incident, Lieutenant."

Malcolm breathed a harsh laugh. "Oh, let's not keep score. It's too blasted depressing."

Tucker looked at Travis over Malcolm's head. "Think we should just pick him up and carry him?"

Malcolm ground out, "If you do, I'll kill you both." Hoshi covered her snicker with a hand.

"Well, we can probably outrun him…" Travis laughed at the coldly murderous look that Malcolm shot him.

Then Malcolm convulsed, nearly twisting out of their grasp, and started screaming.

In horror, Hoshi saw that barbs now protruded from the spike, an inch above the skin and continuing deeper, and lights had appeared on the 'hilt' of the weapon. She scanned it quickly, and had to shout to be heard over Malcolm's cries. "It's generating some kind of EM field!"

Hurrying to the shuttle, they really were all but carrying Malcolm, crashing through the underbrush. When the pod came into view through the trees, Hoshi darted ahead to open the hatch so that the other two could lay him down on the deck. Travis flung himself into the pilot's seat, casting worried glances behind him as he whipped through the pre-flight.

Hoshi scrambled for the medical kit, withdrew an ampoule of painkiller and gave Malcolm the shot. She waited, but his thrashing did not subside. So intent was she on Malcolm that she scarcely noticed when the shuttle lifted off.

"God damn it, get it out of me! Now!" Malcolm had gone ashen, sweat standing out on his forehead. The commander knelt on the deck, Malcolm's head in his lap, staring an order at her: Do something. Malcolm had a death grip on his forearm.

Hoshi gave him another shot, then shook her head at the medical scanner in frustration. "It's not working!" She looked up into Tucker's eyes. "Something in the spike is neutralizing the anesthetic—it's still hurting him. But if I give him any more, he might stop breathing." Malcolm screamed again, and she saw it hit Tucker as hard as it hit her. Tears sprang to her eyes.

Malcolm gasped for breath, eyes tightly closed. "Then bloody well GET IT OUT!" He clawed for the spike with his free hand, and Hoshi struggled against him.

"No! Don't touch it!" She pleaded with Tucker, "Don't let him pull it out." He nodded, looking as miserable as Hoshi felt, and caught Malcolm's other hand with his own. She put her hands down on his uninjured leg, trying to connect with him. "Malcolm, it's got barbs. If we pull it out, you could bleed to death. There's also an EM signature—we don't know what it could do to you. Malcolm, please try to calm down." Her throat was sore, as if she'd been the one screaming.

He stopped fighting them with a visible effort, shudders running through his body. "Can't…go back to Enterprise. Security risk."

Hoshi knew that the commander didn't give a damn about that. Tucker held his hand fast, looking down at the lieutenant. "Just hold on, Malcolm. We'll take care of you." He shot Hoshi another look, daring her to make a liar out of him.

Hoshi yanked the scanner out of her pocket, scrolling back through the display. There were symbols on the spike, and colored lights. She ran through the symbols that had surrounded the launcher, comparing them to the contemporary Intomi language. She tried not to dwell on how they had all marveled at the pretty mosaic, just before Malcolm was shot. She had to focus.

'Reason.' 'Requirement.' She couldn't quite decipher the verb structure. There must be a reason? Someone must have a reason? Her gaze wandered as she tried to work through the permutations, and she watched Commander Tucker talk quietly to Malcolm, as if trying to calm a wounded animal. Malcolm's face was white with strain, but he was obviously listening, trying to keep it together. A low, steady stream of words, and she found herself soothed as well.

'To be reasonable.' Bitterly, she thought to herself that reasonable people wouldn't leave booby traps lying around. Fucking assholes. Forty languages, but nothing compared to good old Anglo-Saxon epithets for vehemence and bluntness. Some long-dead sociopathic fucked-up Intomi bastard had probably thought this up as a game, or a deranged teaching tool, or just a funny joke.

The commander promised to show Malcolm the little stuffed whale he had in his quarters, if Malcolm would only hold on. Malcolm's lips twisted in an approximation of a smile.

Perhaps, 'to have reason'—to be intelligent? Yes, there—'Reason. Requirement. Demonstration.' They had to show that they were intelligent? She supposed it made sense, in a sick kind of way. An animal would probably just have pulled the spike out, barbs and all, and bled to death. Well, they were certainly intelligent, but how to prove that?

The commander promised not to make fun of Malcolm any more when he put peanut butter on his pancakes. A tiny rebel part of her brain spoke up, saying that some people were more intelligent than others were when it came to food choices, and she was immediately ashamed of her inappropriate humor.

An interrogative. 'How Reason. Requirement. Demonstration.' But how could she demonstrate how they reasoned to a spike with blinking lights on it? She watched the lights flash, sure there was a pattern that she wasn't quite picking up on. One light would flash, then two together, then another single light, then another two. Progressing, it seemed, but to what? A countdown?

And then she had a flash, one of those that she could never adequately explain to her professors. 'How reason.' 'Rationale.' And the way the patterns had been laid out in the fresco—Not rationale, but ratio. She watched the lights flash, knowing which ones were going to light up next. Progression, with a fixed ratio. Geometric series.

She watched the lights end their sequence, then begin again. And now she had a starting point. She pressed the first light, then the second, then the fourth. All the lights lit up, then died, and the barbs she could see retracted into the spike, leaving it smooth and featureless.

Malcolm visibly relaxed, tension draining away like water through a sieve. Tucker looked up at her, his heart in his eyes, and she gave him a shaky smile as she checked the tricorder. "He's fine—just unconscious. The sedative finally kicked in."

The commander looked down and gently brushed damp hair back from Malcolm's forehead. "Good job, Hoshi." His voice was gravelly. He cleared his throat, then asked, "What about that thing? Can we take it out?"

She wanted to tell him yes, that they should shove it out the airlock, but…"We should let the doctor take it out. We don't want to make the bleeding worse, and there might be internal damage…"

Tucker shuddered, then sighed. "Right. O'course." He nodded to her. "Thanks, Hoshi."

Hoshi nodded back, then stood up and moved to the front of the shuttle. She patted Travis on the shoulder and murmured, "He's gonna be all right."

"Good." His voice was equally hushed. His eyes were open a little too wide, and his jaw clenched as he glanced back at their two crewmates. Otherwise, his composure was intact. "Phlox is gonna meet us in the landing bay."

"Good." A little word, but relief was fuzzing out her vocabulary, spreading lassitude through her limbs as she took a deep breath. She looked again towards the back of the shuttle. The commander's head was bowed, and he still held Malcolm's hand, thumb stroking across the backs of his knuckles. She looked away, not wanting to disturb their hard-won bubble of harmony, and covered a smile. They didn't call it body 'language' for nothing, and she could read this one easily enough.